M-Banking: 80 percent of global transactions made in East Africa

May 30, 2012

IT research and advisory firm Gartner says that this year will see more than $171.5 billion (€137 million) in mobile payment transactions - a rise of over 60 percent from 2011.

IT research and advisory firm Gartner says this year will see more than $171.5 billion (€137 million) in mobile payment transactions - a rise of over 60 percent from 2011.

Longer term, Gartner believes transactions will reach $617 billion by 2016.

In June 2011, 80 percent of global transactions originated from East African countries, according to a study from the GSM Association (GSMA).

Several factors can explain the success of mobile payment systems in Africa, including a legal frame supporting innovation and a powerful distribution network, Ecofin News Agency reports.

Another reason for their popularity the fact mobile banking helps isolated populations to access banking services. "A type of non-traditional banking service that often prevents users from having to travel or open a bank account in a classic bank," according to a World Bank document.

But for Director at research firm Emerging Markets Jean-Michet Huet, quoted by Ecofin, the development of mobile banking is hampered by country-specific legal constraints, which explains its "country-by-country" development, slowing down its growth.

On May 9th, the GSMA received an additional €7.8 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the MasterCard Foundation and Omidyar Network to continue the successful Mobile Money for the Unbanked programme, which promotes access to mobile banking for unbanked populations until 2015.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801374932-ADNFCR